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Dolphins getting first look at Josh Allen on Sunday versus Bills

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

While Miami Dolphins fans debate the future of quarterback Ryan Tannehill in South Florida, there is another quarterback wearing number 17 who will be on the field at Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday. Leading up this year’s NFL Draft, there was plenty of talk that Miami was looking for a quarterback and Josh Allen was one prospect that was often considered a target. Instead, Allen never got close to Miami, with the Buffalo Bills selecting him with the seventh-overall pick.

Miami, who it turns out was not as high on selecting a quarterback as pre-Draft speculation made it seem, grabbed Alabama defensive back/do-everything-player Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Sunday, Dolphins fans will get an up-close-and-personal look at Allen, who is 83-for-158 (52.5 percent) for 992 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions (65.2 passer rating) in seven games played this year. This past week, Allen finished the Bills game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with an 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) for 160 yards with a touchdown (89.8 passer rating) stat line. Allen also ran for 99 yards on 13 attempts with a score.

In comparison, Tannehill was 17-for-25 (68.0 percent) for 204 yards with two touchdowns (119.4 passer rating) against the Indianapolis Colts.

Of course, the Bills beat the Jaguars while the Dolphins lost to the Colts. And, in an era when winning is all that matters, Allen is receiving praise in Buffalo this week.

Allen electric in return - via Buffalo Rumbling’s Matt Warren.

The Bills’ rookie QB set the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback. It got up over 100 yards, then fell back to 99 yards after the kneel-downs. But even in addition to that, he was very good today. He made great reads and delivered passes to receivers all over the field. He found Robert Foster on a beautiful deep ball as he was being crunched. If you want to hang your hat on a game from Allen in the “franchise quarterback” debate, this was his best game of the year.

In awarding “game balls” for the week, Buffalo Rumblings started with Allen:

QB Josh Allen - via Buffalo Rumbling’s Dylan Zadonowicz

Allen didn’t blow anyone away on the stat sheet: 8 of 19 for 160 yards doesn’t usually get the job done in a lot of games. Still, with a couple of big plays he made through the air and with his legs (he had almost 100 yards on the ground), Allen lit a fire under the Bills that lead them to victory. Forget the box score, he did what had to be done to come out with the win. His command of the huddle, his leadership, his toughness, and the respect from his teammates were all on display Sunday. All things that don’t show up on the stat sheet every week.

In revisiting their “five to watch” article from earlier in the week, Buffalo Rumblings also started with Allen and the praise for his performance:

QB Josh Allen - via Buffalo Rumbling’s Sean Murphy

Buffalo’s rookie started the game blazing hot, completing 4 of his first 5 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. Most of that yardage came on a picture-perfect deep ball to fellow rookie Robert Foster. That Allen finished the game 8-of-19 for 160 yards and that one touchdown may seem a bit disappointing, but with numerous penalties nullifying good throws, his passing line looks much worse than it could have. The rookie also showed off his excellent mobility, running 13 times for 99 yards (2 of those “carries” came out of the victory formation, which is why he did not officially break the century mark rushing). Allen wasn’t perfect, and he made a few throws that he certainly would like to have back (a ground ball he threw to Isaiah McKenzie on a quick screen stands out), but the rookie was poised throughout the day, and he did enough to help his team win. He definitely looked more comfortable in the pocket than he did prior to his elbow injury. One thing I’ll be looking for as the year continues is whether Allen can become more confident and consistent passing the ball while under duress. Too often, it seems that he relies on his rushing ability when the play begins to break down around him. While he has shown the ability to stand in and take a shot while delivering a good throw (see the long ball to Foster and another to Kelvin Benjamin), I want him to keep his eyes downfield as pressure comes, which should allow him to deliver daggers behind blitzes. It’s starting to happen, however, and I can’t wait to watch the young man continue to progress.

It was not just the guys at Buffalo Rumblings that liked what they saw from Allen. From Jim Kubiak at Buffalo News:

He was aggressive, tough and in control of the game from the first play when he faked a run, rolled left and decisively ran the football. It was only a 5-yard gain, but that play demonstrated his tenacious, physical leadership as he went plowing into defenders without hesitation or fear. After contact, he popped up and had a few emphatic words for the Jaguars’ defenders.

This first play from the line of scrimmage set the tone for the Bills as they took down the physical Jaguars, 24-21.

Allen’s unconventional quarterback demeanor as well as his leadership have Bills fans excited about his development. There aren’t many players with the physical tools to do the things that Allen was able to do to beat Jacksonville.

Over at New York Upstate, Ryan Talbot said of Allen’s performance:

Maybe Josh Allen really did learn a lot from his time on the sidelines. In his first action since Week 6, Allen looked outstanding for Buffalo.

Don’t let his passing line fool you. Allen, for the most part, was very accurate against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, drops by his receivers and a few completions wiped away by penalties made his final passing stat line look a bit pedestrian.

One area that didn’t look bad was Allen’s rushing stats. The quarterback ran for 99 yards and a score against a tough Jaguars defense.

Cover 1’s Frenando Henrique Schmude started his “four takeaways” of the Bills-Jaguars game with Allen:

Josh Allen is back and better than ever

The Bills’ first-round quarterback made his anticipated comeback from an elbow injury and impressed against one of the league’s best defenses. It was a very similar performance to the one versus the Vikings, one in which Allen gave the opposing defense fits with his scrambling ability and showcased his arm on some big-time throws.

After his time off, it was good to see him improving in areas where he struggled before, like in ball placement on deep passes, and especially in his pocket presence. Allen was very successful moving in and outside the pocket, buying time to make the throws or punishing Jacksonville with big gains on the ground. He wasn’t sacked in the game and ran for 99 yards and one TD on 13 carries. He finished the game completing 8 of 19 passes for 160 yards and another TD. It’s not the most impressive stat line, but he avoided turnovers and moved the chains fairly consistently.

The Bills’ rookie QB has drawn some comparisons to a young Ben Roethlisberger and/or Cam Newton, but as I was watching him play today, he reminded me of a pair of QBs of the 2006 class at the start of their careers. From the arm talent standpoint, Allen reminds me of a young Jay Cutler, a QB with enough velocity and zip on the ball to make any NFL throw. From the mobility and athleticism standpoint, he reminds me of Vince Young. Both are big guys who were able to make defenses pay with their scrambling ability, showing impressive speed in the open field with their long strides. Allen missing an easy swing pass to Isiah McKenzie reminded me of Young’s inaccuracy and inconsistency, too.

A lot of people seem to be high on Allen heading into this weekend’s game in Miami. Can the Dolphins, who are second in the league with 17 interceptions this year led by cornerback Xavien Howard who has the second-most individual interceptions thus far with five, rattle the rookie? Can they turn last week’s performance against the Jaguars into a distant memory for Bills fans? If they are going to do that, they will have to be prepared for his running ability as well as the passing game - and that could be where Allen excels in South Florida.

Miami will get a chance to stop a quarterback that was linked to them pre-Draft. This is their first chance to prove they were right in selecting Fitzpatrick rather than moving up to grab Allen. There will be plenty more meetings between Miami and Allen as the division rivalry continues over the years, but on Sunday, the first chapter can be written and Miami needs to put a emphatic stamp on the end of that chapter.